Gray Areas: Submitted for your approval, Brite Winter goes virtual

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

• Outdoor music festivals traditionally are a summer thing, especially in Ohio.

One notable exception is Brite Winter, a regional music festival on the west bank of The Flats in Cleveland that embraces the frigid temperatures of the North Coast in February.

Snow couldn’t stop Brite Winter, but a coronavirus could, so organizers created TwiBrite Zone, a four-part series of virtual concerts that will be broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.

Each episode will feature performances by northeast Ohio musical acts and pay homage to the classic television series “The Twilight Zone.”

A couple of Mahoning Valley bands — The Vindys and Spirit of the Bear — performed on one of the main stages last year, and the first installment of TwiBrite at 7 p.m. Friday will include Youngstown’s Labra Brothers (who lead off the main story for this week’s Ticket).

Also performing Friday will be Post Saga and Eliy Orcko.

According to the news release announcing the lineup, “This episode will pay tribute to all of the backyard barbecues and beach parties we missed last summer. So put on your favorite Hawaiian shirt, slip in to your flip-flops, blow up the beach ball and stock your cooler for an event that is sure to ‘brite-n’ up your winter.”

Future TwiBrite Zone episodes are planned for 7 p.m. Feb. 19, 7 p.m. March 12 and 7 p.m. April 9.

The event is free, but online donations will be collected to help pay the performers and to fund future Brite Winter programming.

• The Robins Theatre in downtown Warren has tried to reschedule most of the shows postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in some cases shifting the date multiple times as restrictions are extended.

However, one show was canceled this week, but the virus isn’t the reason.

Blues rocker Jonny Lang announced he is canceling all confirmed appearances.

According to a statement posted on his social media, “Over the course of the past year, medical challenges with his voice have not improved. There is hope for a natural recovery at some point in the future but until progress is witnessed no future plans will be initiated.

“He is thankful for the support of his fans over the past two plus decades, and hopes to be in the position to return to the stage should he retain the ability to perform at a level his global audience has enjoyed night in and night out. As he navigates these challenges, further guidance will be offered at an appropriate time in the future.”

A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this week attributed his vocal problems to years of over singing and straining his vocal cords. In a 2018 interview with the newspaper, Lang said he was working with Mark Baxter, a Boston-based instructor who had helped Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.

“He (Baxter) understands how to deal with people who beat their voices up, which is what I do pretty badly,” Lang said in that 2018 interview. “He showed me how I could keep the tone I wanted while mitigating the damage and swelling of my vocal cords.”

Andy Gray is the entertainment editor of Ticket. Write to him at agray@tribtoday.com.


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